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This is an informative and interesting history of man's technical progress, written in a vivid, nontechnical manner for the average reader. Author Gartmann does not seem to have any particular theory to preach. He seems merely to want to demonstrate how fascinating his subject is, how full of interesting incident and accident, and how inventors and inventions have had to struggle against the prevailing prejudices of any particular era. If the book does have a theme, this struggle would seem to be it. Since the book is a translation from the German, it has a somewhat German orientation and provides many German examples of technological accomplishment in places where American or British examples would have fitted in as well had the book been done by an American or Englishman. Despite this, the author is quite objective and impartial in his scholarship, giving just credit where credit is due. His story of technology takes in all the countries of the West, particularly England, France and the United States, and it covers every significant invention from the earliest steam engine to the latest moon rocket. There is a bit of awkwardness, however, in the way the author writes of the war years. He fails to note, for example, the enormous price that German technology paid for Hitler's persecutions. Had not Einstein, Meitner, Fermi, and Bohr been forced to flee Europe there might never have been a Manhattan Project and Germany would have no doubt become the world's foremost center of nuclear science. The book, however, is quite praiseworthy as a good general survey of the subject, written in a manner to keep the reader fascinated to the very last technological improvement.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1959
Publisher: Morrow